Monday, October 15, 2012

Wizards, Wardrobes and Wookies (Book Review)

 Title: Wizards, Wardrobes and Wookiees: Navigating Good and Evil in Harry Potter, Narnia and Star Wars
Author: Connie Neal
Publisher: IVP Books
Source: From author for review

Goodreads Summary:
Luke Skywalker. Lucy Pevensie. Harry Potter. For millions of children and adults alike, these names and stories are as familiar as those of close friends and family. We read and watch their adventures over and over again. We feel their fears and betrayals. We are inspired by their courage. And perhaps we wish we could live in their worlds, fight important battles and have our chance to become heroes.In these pages Connie Neal shows that we too--in our seemingly ordinary world--have a call on our life that's just as powerful, just as adventurous. While we won't run into Darth Vader or the White Witch on the street, we face villains as formidable as they. And though we don't have Obi Wan Kenobi or Dumbledore to mentor us, Wizards, Wardrobes and Wookiees reminds us of the Helper who teaches and guides as we walk through each day. By highlighting adventures from Star Wars, Narnia and Harry Potter, as well as true stories from Scripture and her own life, Neal shows us the way to victory over evil in the battles we face.This hope-filled, encouraging book takes us into mythical worlds we love in order to help us live wisely and well in our own so that our stories, in turn, can inspire all who see and hear.

This is an interesting book that brings together Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Harry Potter in order to talk about the Bible and the hero journey in our own lives. I was definitely skeptical going into it because so much as already been said about Harry Potter and the hero's journey as well as Harry Potter and Christianity. (I know the same is true for Star Wars and Narnia as well but I haven't personally read anything like that about these works before). However I think that this book has a very good take on the subject.
There are a few things that bothered me a bit about this book. The first is that there are a few times when the author compares being a Democrat to being evil. Now, I certainly think that there are plenty of relevant topics if you want to compare these works to politics. But the author states that not believing in the non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and not believing that Voldemort had returned to power are the same and that that implies that those who didn't think we should have gone to war in Iraq are sinners. That argument doesn't follow.
There are also quite a few inaccuracies in the book. There are many little things I noticed about Harry Potter specifically, but as I know more details to Harry Potter than the average person, I was able to over look most of these since they didn't take away from the message of the work. There were some time-related discrepancies that did bother me. For example, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets can't be a reflection of life after September 11, 2001 because it was published well before then.
Having said all that, I think this book did a very good job of making the Bible more exciting and interesting by relating it well to pop culture. And as this is the main aim of the book, I would say that overall this book is a great success.

Rating: 4/5

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